First of all, I came into this course not having a clue what a wicked problem even was. So by now knowing the definition, I would consider myself a lot smarter than I was on day one. It has actually been really interesting. Shamefully, I would say that I often don’t really consider my effects on the environment in my day to day life. Well, at least I didn’t used to. Even just halfway through this 8 week class, I think of so many things differently. I find myself thinking about my cup in a landfill, the electricity it takes to charge my phone each night, or the pollution that my car emits. I leave a mark everywhere I go, and it is rarely a good one.
Wicked problems are honestly scary. We get one earth, everyone knows that. So why aren’t we treating this one right? Humans, myself included, are single handedly ruining this beautiful planet we call home. It is seriously so beautiful. I am from Iowa, and yes, it is beautiful there too. Rolling hills covered in corn and soybeans surely don’t compare to white sandy beaches, but I love it. It’s all I have ever known, and I forget that some people have never even really seen grass. They are used to a “concrete jungle” rather than actual trees and greenery. And at the rate we are going, there might not be actual jungles for much longer.
I have always sucked at meditation. My mind travels a million miles a minute, and I swear that voice in my head never shuts up. Thoughts race through my mind at all hours of the day, and keep me up almost every single night. So when someone tells me to close my eyes, focus on my breathing, how my feet are placed on the floor, and just relax, I can’t. I am thinking about my breathing and then the next thing I know I have meal planned for the next month and a half. But I am a very persistent person. I want to be able to do any and all things that I put my mind to, so I am trying to get better. I try to force the overwhelming amount of thoughts in my head out of my mind, even if it is just for a couple minutes a day. I am starting to see a difference. I can calm my mind for longer periods of time now than I could even just a week ago. Being in college has been hard for me, and practicing mindfulness has helped me to collect myself, and remind myself that I can do this.
Mindfulness also helps me to see myself from far away, if that even makes sense. I try to zoom out on my life, and look at myself from a different perspective. I am literally a tiny speck on a huge sphere floating around in space. No one is going to remember me tripping up the stairs on the way to class, and if they do, why should I care. Why should I care about the little things? Mindfulness has taught me that there are only so many hours in a day, why spend time thinking about something that has little effect on my future, or just my life in general. I want to spend more time doing things that are important to me. More time doing the things that make me happy. I would say I am a very ambitious person, and I like to work hard and accomplish great things. I have big goals for my future, and truly believe that if I want them bad enough, I can get there. I want a big family, a loving husband, a good job- that I enjoy, a strong faith, and just overall happiness. But I need to live a sustainable life if I want to get there. Everyone does. There are so many changes that need to be made in order for me to even get the chance of living the life that I dream of.
I need to become more aware of the impact that I make. There are so many simple swaps that I can make in my life to make my lifestyle more sustainable. Yeah, riding a bus or carpooling isn’t my first choice, but it’s something that I am willing to do if it will make a difference. I am also trying to be more conscious of what I buy. Trying to spend less and save more, and just make due with what I have. Being a poor college student has shown me that I actually don’t need that new pair of sneakers, the 6 pairs that I already have work just fine.
The biggest struggle with wicked problems, in my opinion, is to get everyone else on earth to realize the urgency of these problems. The whole thing about wicked problems is that there really isn’t a solution, or at least one that everyone can agree on. How do you get 7 billion people to see that pollution is bad? That seems like something that you shouldn’t have to tell people, but here we are. Like that just seems like common sense in my opinion, then I look at the world and see that apparently it is not. Air pollution, water pollution, and just actual trash thrown out the window of people’s cars. Not good.
I am excited to see what else I learn throughout the rest of this course. I know that there are so many more wicked problems that I don’t even know about. I am realizing the importance of living a sustainable life, and how to do that. I hope that I learn enough to explain and teach others how to live sustainable lives as well. It’s so cliche, but there is no planet B, I hope that people will start to wake up and realize that. If we want to live the lives that we all dream of, we have to start caring about the world right now.